Wherever you happen to be in life, as a coach there’s always room for self-improvement. Whether you’re looking to bolster your professional skills, work on close relationships, or cultivate better tools to use with your client base, continual education is super important if you want to be an incredible coach.
Now, before you stress out, there are numerous ways to “learn on the job” as a life coach. Of course, we don’t mean watching TED Talks whilst having an in-depth discussion with a client! That would (for obvious reasons) be kinda unprofessional…
“So, what can I do outside of my life coaching sessions to really improve my craft?” you may ask. Well, we feel that looking to those who have already accomplished greatness in the field is an excellent place to start!
So, where should I start?
Many of the world’s most successful life coaches and companies put out great free information to spark inspiration and creativity in aspiring coaches.
However, the best information for life coaches is usually found on the pages of the books that line our library shelves.
Not only do life coaching books offer guidance on careers, health, and business, but they are always there for reference should you need them! After all, even if you’re a life-coach at the top of your field, the idea that you never stop learning always rings true.
So, if you’re trying to tackle a career slump or simply want to learn more about the ins and outs of coaching, we’ve compiled a list of the best life coaching books that are currently on the market.
Whether you’re after some guidance on self-development or need a helping hand with the business side of things, you’re sure to find some pearls of wisdom hidden in the pages of these wonderful books.
What makes a good life coaching book?
Just before we dive into our fabulous list of the best life coaching books, we thought we’d briefly touch upon what makes a life coaching book useful.
Life coaches that are new to the game can often find themselves crippled by fear of failure or a lack of direction. Though these thoughts can sometimes lead to awesome changes, it’s difficult to channel these emotions when you’re already lacking perspective…
Enter: life coaching books.
At Paperbell, we believe that the best life coaching books are influential and have a great story to tell. Though life coaching is a very individual thing, being able to check out another coach’s success story can make a huge difference when you’re setting up your own business!
We feel that the best life coaching books offer something that can be sorely missing from courses and blogs; perspective. Though we’d like to believe that the road to success is a straight line, it’s usually a path that’s filled with trial and error!
What makes some of the books below so wonderful is that they showcase just how rewarding battling through those tough moments can be.
So, ready to be inspired? Let’s go!
The best practical books for life coaching
Co-Active Coaching – Laura Whitworth, Henry Kinsey-House, Phil Sandahl and John Whitmore
To kick off our list of the best life coaching books, we thought we’d begin with Co-Active Coaching by Laura Whitworth, Henry Kinsey-House, Phil Sandahl and John Whitmore. The combined knowledge of these coaching geniuses has made this book a core text since its publication in 1998.
What we love about this life coaching book is that it’s written by the founders of The Coaches Training Institute, so the methods and tools used within this book are proven to work well with clients.
In addition to this, if you’re looking to pursue a life coaching career without becoming licensed, then this book acts as an excellent reference guide for any nasty roadblocks.
Hooray for resourcefulness!
Perhaps the most fleshed-out guide that you’ll find outside of an actual coaching program, this is an excellent choice for newbies and professionals alike.
Transformational Life Coaching – Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott and Lynn U. Stewart
Another one of the gold-standard life coaching books is Transformational Life Coaching. If you’re looking for the “OG” guide to coaching, then look no further than this near-biblical text.
Not only will this book teach you how to navigate the coaching profession, but you’ll learn how to turn negative experiences into successes and how to engage with your clients in a meaningful way. This life coaching book is an exquisite all-rounder, and is possibly the best option out there for those looking to make outstanding coach-client connections.
Another useful resource that we had to mention is The Life Coaching Handbook from Curly Martin. This life coaching book is based on the teachings of the ABNLP (American Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming) and is an excellent tool for those seeking inspiration. As The Life Coaching Handbook is packed with ideas and tools for coaches, it’s a great book to have in your arsenal if you’ve got a client that isn’t responding to your usual methods.
Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills – Tony Stolzfus
We couldn’t create a list of the best life coaching books available without including Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills by Tony Stoltzfus! As you may have guessed from the title, this book is all about how to ask powerful questions. As much of the coaching profession revolves around the coach-client relationship and the ability of both to navigate life’s roadblocks together, this book is a great tool for those wanting to hone their interpersonal skills.
Walks of Life – Jill Fratto
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to becoming a life coach, then we highly recommend checking out Walks of Life by Jill Fratto. This book is excellent at breaking down the business side of coaching, and clearly explains start-up costs, charging rates, and business licensing considerations that can puzzle even the most experienced coaches.
What’s more, aside from being one of the more practical life coaching books on the market, Walks of Life is great for igniting your entrepreneurial spirit. With all the information you’ll need to hit the ground running, this book is inspiration incarnate!
Becoming a Professional Life Coach- Lessons from the Institute for Life Coach Training – Diane S. Menendez Ph.D. and Patrick Williams Ed.D
One of the best resources for coaches when it comes to the practical side of things is Becoming a Professional Life Coach. Though we won’t go so far as to call this the ultimate manual for becoming a coach, the sheer level of knowledge that this book imparts makes it worth purchasing.
Covering everything from the birth of coaching to the fundamentals of listening and session prep, this book is an amazing reference guide for any coach that we highly recommend picking up.
The best self-development books for life coaches
Though the books that we’ve mentioned above are great teaching guides for coaches, sometimes you need a push from different sets of hands. Life coaching relies on constant self-improvement and development, so if you’re feeling out of sorts with your sense of self, then be sure to consider some of the books below for an additional nudge.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brene Brown Ph.D.
Have you ever wondered why you approach things in a certain way? Or why your clients aren’t picking up what you’re laying down during your sessions? Well, Brene Brown is an academic expert in human behaviour and she may just have the answers that you’re looking for!
Brown delves into what she calls ‘wholehearted living’ and why this may look different from one person to the next. What makes this book a wonderful read is that it’s excellent for learning about self-compassion, resilience, letting go of comparison, and the danger of self-doubt. Not only will understanding these topics help you to flourish as a coach, but they’ll give you great perspective when dealing with your clients too!
You may have heard of this highly successful life coaching book before. When this book was initially published back in 1989, it was a revelatory hit and continues to have the same effect today. Teaching coaches how to be proactive, chart a course, and handle difficult personal questions, this book is an excellent tool that encourages readers to address their fundamental behaviours and forge their own successful path in life. Count us in!
The Power of Self-Coaching: The Five Essential Steps to Creating the Life You Want – Dr. Joseph J. Luciani
If you’re after an excellent general life coaching book, then look no further than this offering from Dr. Joseph J. Luciani. Not only does this handy book help you to identify problem areas within your current practice that will make you a better coach, but it helps encourage the use of tools in your own life that you can then use with clients. Though these are lofty promises, Dr. Luciani is a practicing clinical psychologist and certainly knows his stuff.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers
Though this isn’t marketed as a life coaching book, we feel that it deserves a place on our list due to its revolutionary approach to life’s great challenges. Life coaches often find themselves paralysed by fear of failure, and often these fears are rooted in past trauma and uncertainty. So, if you feel as though something in you is simply ‘stuck’, this book may just provide the insight you need to become your best self.
The best health coaching books
Though we’ve focused mainly on general and instructional coaching books, we thought we’d briefly touch upon our two favourite health coaching books!
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe – Christopher McDougall
One of the best books for health coaches is undoubtedly Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Guaranteed to take you by surprise with its brazen discussion of the human mind and spirit, it’s an inspirational read that will motivate any client that’s currently stuck in a health rut.
The Intuitive Eating Workbook – Evelyn Tribole
The other life coaching book that we feel is crucial for health coaches is The Intuitive Eating Workbook. Though this one is slightly controversial in some circles due to its total overhaul of diet culture, for life coaches that are looking to guide clients towards a healthy relationship with their bodies, this is a must read.
Offering a comprehensive and evidence-based program that helps coaches to understand the connection between mind and body, this book could be the ultimate game-changer.
As a coach, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to self-education. Even when life gets busy, coaches should never be complacent when it comes to expanding and perfecting their skill set!
Reading remains one of the most powerful tools out there for self-improvement, and making the effort to harvest new coaching tools is guaranteed to set you apart from the competition.
If we can leave you with one thing to think about, it’s that regardless of where you are on your coaching journey, there are always opportunities to develop advanced skills and gain a better understanding of the world around you.
So, keep adding to that reading list, as you truly never know what hidden gems you may uncover within the pages of a book!